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S Korean Park: "I will defeat Phelps tomorrow!"
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15:06, August 11, 2008


Park Tae-hwan of South Koera celebrates victory during men's 400m freestyle final of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games at National Aquatics Center in Beijing, China, August 10, 2008. Park won the gold medal in the event.(Xinhua/Chen Kai Photo)



Park Tae-hwan of South Koera celebrates victory during men’s 400 freestyle final of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games at National Aquatics Center in Beijing, China, August 10, 2008. (Xinhua/Chen Kai)

South Korean swimming prodigy Park Taehwan said he would try his best to defeat Michael Phelps after he left the American sensation behind in a men's 200m freestyle semifinal here on Monday morning.

"I will defeat Phelps tomorrow", Park told reporters in the mixed zone after the race.

Park beat Phelps by 0.29 second and finished second with 1:45.99 during the heat, while Phelps's compatriot Peter Vanderkaay snatched the first place in the start list for the final to be held on Tuesday morning.

Phelps swam in an apparent effort to save his strength for the later 4X100 freestyle relay. Eventually the American won his second Olympic gold and he and his teammates created a stunning new world record with 3.99 seconds faster than the previous one they set in Sunday's heats.

Park said he was tired after yesterday's race, however, after a day of rest, his strength will recover and his morale remains high.

The South Korean freestyler gave his country its first Olympic swimming gold medal on Sunday morning when he took on retired Australian Ian Thorpe's mantle as men's 400 meters freestyle champion.

Dubbed as nation's little brother, Park is the event's world champion and a hugely popular athlete in his country. Even South Korean President Lee Myung-bak interrupted an official meeting to watch his live TV telecast.

A presidential office spokesman said that Lee called Park to congratulate the swimmer and give him encouragement in his next races.

"Your Olympic victory is a giant glory to the entire nation. You elevated the morale of the entire nation. Congratulations," Lee was quoted as telling Park. "Your world-class performance demonstrated the enhanced national power of Korea."

Park already beat Aussie long-distance king Grant Hackett, his childhood hero, twice in international races last year and won the world championship.

Moreover, having overcome the Australian veteran in the 400m final in Beijing made his first Olympic gold even more shining.

Source:Xinhua

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